Day 11: Jerash, Kibbutz
After taking a tour of Jerash in Jordan (a very famous city that housed the Temple of Hercules), we finally arrived in Israel. After some hold up at the border crossing from Jordan to Israel (go figure), we crossed and made our way to the Kibbutz in Ginosar (which sounds like a Pokemon to me, but whatever). The security people were nicer at this gate than they were at Taba, but still was a headache to go through. *Sigh* I can’t wait until there is peace over here, but it is going to take generations to end this millennial old hatred.
As it turns out, I am not only learning things about the Middle East; I am learning more than factual information and cultural differences. I am learning more than life lessons from the people I meet here. I am learning more about myself.
My wonderful girlfriend and I had a deep talk tonight about myself and our relationship. After discussing my past a bit and confessing the many mistakes I have made, she picked up on something I had never even thought about before: I haven’t forgiven myself for my past mistakes in life.
I learned something about myself: I tend to be 100% totally independent. I mean, when I struggle with something, I go off on my own and try to fix it. I don’t want anyone else to be burdened with my issues, so I just go fix it myself. Most of the time, I don’t even ask God to help; I just tell him that I got into the mess so I will get out of it (I know, selfish and stupid, right?)
For me, I don’t ever want to put anyone out. When we got to the Kibbutz, my bed did not have a mattress, just a hard wooden bench. I didn’t really care. I joked about not having one, but I would rather me not have one than anyone else. Other people offered me some of their things to fix it, but I refuse. I didn’t want anyone else to have to be uncomfortable on my behalf. I would just rather be uncomfortable instead. (We ended up finally getting a mattress, and all was well.)
The same went for my sunburn. I really burned myself a few days ago (even though I put on sunscreen three times!). The only shirt I had clean was a sleeveless shirt which exposed most of my sunburn to the sun again. Everyone was so nice and offered sunscreen and offered to trade shirts with me, but I refused (well, I took some sunscreen because I’m not stupid, but still refused the shirts). It worked out alright. But still, I didn’t want to put anyone off.
My girlfriend pointed out to me that my attitude, while it seems noble, is still screwed up. I am still being selfish, but in a different way: I am hurting myself to the point where I am in constant turmoil. Not really to the point of depression or anything like that, but I am at a point of discomfort that really starts to affect everyone around me whether I like it or not.
This attitude is similar in my unforgiveness of myself. Because I don’t want to ever hurt anyone again, I will punish myself over and over again to remind me to never make that mistake again. It is a humbling experience for me, but it is also harmful to me. While I do understand and remind myself that God has forgiven me, I tend not to forgive myself because, in my mind, I feel that forgiving myself is like saying what I did was okay. While I know that is not true, because I know God forgives me and I can forgive other people, it still is hard to fight the mental attitude in my own mind that seems to excuse the unjust behavior.
I think God is really trying to get my attention because after our talk, I went to the bathroom (affectionately named “The Water Closet” by nearly every other country in the world except America) and inscribed in the wall next to all the graffiti is the phrase “u cant be happy with others until ur happy with urself”. Oh Wise Water Closet Proverb! How true you ring in my life right now!
I really can’t be truly happy with others if I am constantly beating myself up for past mistakes. I know that pastors say over and over again that you have to forgive yourself first, but I don’t have any clue of how to do that or where to start. Looks like I need to start taking to God more about it and have the Master of Forgiveness teach me what I should do.
Wow… I am learning way more than I expected to on this trip.
Following His Call,